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OSS

Launching Open Source Initiatives Is the Next Battleground In Quantum Computing

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At a time when tech giants are ploughing millions of dollars in quantum computing and are striving ahead with breakthroughs, Google, Microsoft and IBM seem to be locked in an intense battle of quantum supremacy. Mountain View search giant announced Cirq — an open-source framework for NISQ computers. Cirq is an open-source initiative that allows developers to create algorithms that can run on a number of machines without having a full background in quantum physics.

The Google blog notes that once installed — Cirq enables researchers to write quantum algorithms for specific quantum processors. “Cirq gives users fine-tuned control over quantum circuits, specifying gate behaviour using native gates, placing these gates appropriately on the device, and scheduling the timing of these gates within the constraints of the quantum hardware,” the blog notes. Cirq supports running these algorithms locally on a simulator and is designed to easily integrate with future quantum hardware or larger simulators via the cloud.

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Openwashing

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Exclusive: Why open source is critical to software development

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Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Pivotal APJ head of platform architecture Lawrence Crowther and discuss the importance of Open-source and cloud.

Firstly, can you tell me a bit more about Pivotal and its cloud platform?

Pivotal’s original mission was to transform the way the world builds software. Now our mission is to transform the way the world runs software, too, through a combination of methodology and technology. Whether we are helping clients change their culture towards product development or managing platforms, we use the same agile principles in both cases, such as Extreme Programming and the Lean Startup approach. This is often a radical shift for companies to embrace so we partner with them for a “learn by doing” approach.

We believe that in order to support a fast development team who are iterating quickly and updating constantly, you need a different kind of platform. One that removes all barriers and lets you go from “concept to cash” quickly in a reliable, secure and safe way. You can build software as fast as you want but if it is not ending up in the hands of users it doesn't matter. Once Pivotal Cloud Foundry is up and running the cost of deploying applications and iterating on them becomes almost zero. This is because it takes away the details of infrastructure, middleware, dependencies, integrations, monitoring and more from the development team so they can focus on delivering value to the business over and over again.

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OSS and Sharing Leftovers

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  • Crowdfunding for extension management in GIMP (and other improvements)

    Well that’s the big question! Let’s be clear: currently security of plug-ins in GIMP sucks.

    So the first thing is that our upload website should make basic file type checks and compare them with the metadata listing. If your metadata announces you ship brushes, and we find executables in there, we would block it.

    Also all executables (i.e. plug-ins or scripts) would be held for manual review. That also means we’ll need to find people in the community to do the review. I predict that it will require some time for things to set up smoothly and the road may be bumpy at first.

    Finally we won’t accept built-files immediately. If code is being compiled, we would need to compile it ourselves on our servers. This is obviously a whole new layer of complexity (even more because GIMP can run on Linux, Windows, macOS, BSDs…). So at first, we will probably not allow C and C++ extensions on our repository. But WAIT! I know that some very famous and well-maintained extensions exist and are compiled. We all think of G’Mic of course! We may make exceptions for trustworthy plug-in creators (with a well-known track record), to allow them to upload their compiled plug-ins as extensions. But these will be really exceptional.

    Obviously this will be a difficult path. We all know how security is a big deal, and GIMP is not so good here. At some point, we should even run every extension in a sandbox for instance. Well some say: the trip is long, but the way is clear.

  • Python's founder steps down, India's new net neutrality regulations, and more open source news

    The head of one of the most popular free software/open source software projects is stepping down. Guido van Rossum announced that he's giving up leadership of the project he founded, effective immediately.

    van Rossum, affectionately known as Python's "benevolent dictator for life," made the move after the bruising process of approving a recent enhancement proposal to the scripting language. He also cited some undisclosed medical problems as another factor in his resignation. van Rossum stated that he "doesn't want to think as hard about his creation and is switching to being an 'ordinary core developer'," according to The Inquirer.

    van Rossum, who "has confirmed he won't be involved in appointing his replacement. In fact, it sounds very much like he doesn't think there should be one," believes that Python's group of committers can do his job.

  • FLIR Creates Open-Source Dataset for Driving Assistance

    Sensor systems developer FLIR Systems Inc. has announced an open-source machine learning thermal dataset designed for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and self-driving vehicle researchers, developers, and auto manufacturers, featuring a compilation of more than 10,000 annotated thermal images of day and nighttime scenarios.

    The first of its kind to include annotations for cars, other vehicles, people, bicycles, and dogs, the starter thermal dataset enables developers to begin testing and evolving convolutional neural networks with the FLIR Automotive Development Kit (ADKTM). The dataset empowers the automotive community to quickly evaluate thermal sensors on next-generation algorithms. When combined with visible light cameras, lidar, and radar, thermal sensor data paired with machine learning helps create a more comprehensive and redundant system for identifying and classifying roadway objects, especially pedestrians and other living things.

  • Open-source map of accessible restaurants in Calgary growing into something beautiful

    A call on Twitter for a list of accessible restaurants has led to an online mapping movement to plot out user-friendly restaurants around the city.

    On Monday, Calgary-based tech entrepreneur Travis Martin saw a tweet from Natasha Gibson (@ktash) asking Councillor Druh Farrell if she knew of some accessible restaurants for her senior parents.

  • Universities in Germany and Sweden Lose Access to Elsevier Journals [iophk: "sci-hub to the rescue"]

    This month, approximately 300 academic institutions in Germany and Sweden lost access to new papers published in Elsevier’s journals due to a standstill in negotiations for nationwide subscription contracts. While Elsevier’s papers remain inaccessible, academics are turning to alternative means of obtaining them, such as using inter-library loan services, emailing authors, finding earlier versions on preprint servers, or buying individual papers.

  • Open Source Laboratory Rocker is Super Smooth

    Lab equipment is often expensive, but budgets can be tight and not always up to getting small labs or researchers what they need. That’s why [akshay_d21] designed an Open Source Lab Rocker with a modular tray that uses commonly available hardware and 3D printed parts. The device generates precisely controlled, smooth motion to perform automated mild to moderately aggressive mixing of samples by tilting the attached tray in a see-saw motion. It can accommodate either a beaker or test tubes, but since the tray is modular, different trays can be designed to fit specific needs.

  • Update on our planned move from Azure to Google Cloud Platform

    Improving the performance and reliability of GitLab.com has been a top priority for us. On this front we've made some incremental gains while we've been planning for a large change with the potential to net significant results: running GitLab as a cloud native application on Kubernetes.

    The next incremental step on our cloud native journey is a big one: migrating from Azure to Google Cloud Platform (GCP). While Azure has been a great provider for us, GCP has the best Kubernetes support and we believe will the best provider for our long-term plans. In the short term, our users will see some immediate benefits once we cut over from Azure to GCP including encrypted data at rest on by default and faster caching due to GCP's tight integration with our existing CDN.

Cloud-Native/Kubernetes/Container/OpenShift

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Server
OSS
  • 10 Key Attributes of Cloud-Native Applications

    Cloud-native platforms, like Kubernetes, expose a flat network that is overlaid on existing networking topologies and primitives of cloud providers. Similarly, the native storage layer is often abstracted to expose logical volumes that are integrated with containers. Operators can allocate storage quotas and network policies that are accessed by developers and resource administrators. The infrastructure abstraction not only addresses the need for portability across cloud environments, but also lets developers take advantage of emerging patterns to build and deploy applications. Orchestration managers become the deployment target, irrespective of the underlying infrastructure that may be based on physical servers or virtual machines, private clouds or public clouds.

    Kubernetes is an ideal platform for running contemporary workloads designed as cloud-native applications. It’s become the de facto operating system for the cloud, in much the same way Linux is the operating system for the underlying machines. As long as developers follow best practices of designing and developing software as a set of microservices that comprise cloud-native applications, DevOps teams will be able to package and deploy them in Kubernetes. Here are the 10 key attributes of cloud-native applications that developers should keep in mind when designing cloud-native applications.

  • Google Embraces New Kubernetes Application Standard

    Once an organization has a Kubernetes container orchestration cluster running, the next challenge is to get applications running.

    Google is now aiming to make it easier for organizations to deploy Kubernetes applications, through the Google Cloud Platform Marketplace. The new marketplace offerings bring commercial Kubernetes-enabled applications that can be run in the Google cloud, or anywhere else an organization wants.

    All a user needs to do is visit the GCP marketplace and click the Purchase Plan button to get started.

    "Once they agree to the terms, they'll find instructions on how to deploy this application on the Kubernetes cluster of their choice, running in GCP or another cloud, or even on-prem," Anil DhawanProduct Manager, Google Cloud Platform, told ServerWatch. "The applications report metering information to Google for billing purposes so end users can get one single bill for their application usage, regardless of where it is deployed."

  • Challenges and Requirements for Container-Based Applications and Application Services

    Enterprises using container-based applications require a scalable, battle-tested, and robust services fabric to deploy business-critical workloads in production environments. Services such as traffic management (load balancing within a cluster and across clusters/regions), service discovery, monitoring/analytics, and security are a critical component of an application deployment framework. This blog post provides an overview of the challenges and requirements for such application services.

OSS Leftovers

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OSS
  • Mitre to Use Open Source Tool for Cyber Evaluations on 8 Companies

    Mitre will deploy an open source tool to assess the cybersecurity capabilities of eight companies and subsequently release findings in October as part of an initiative by the nonprofit research organization, ExecutiveBiz reported Thursday.

    The Washington Business Journal reported Tuesday that Mitre will utilize its Adversarial Tactics, Techniques and Common Knowledge platform to help conduct evaluations on the cyber offerings of Carbon Black (Nasdaq: CBLK), CounterTack, CrowdStrike, Cylance, Endgame, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), RSA and SentinelOne.

  • News:-Apache’s Project Kafka has released stable latest version 1.1.1

    Apache Kafka is a distributed streaming platform to publish, store, subscribe, and process the records. Kafka is broadly used for real-time streaming of the data between systems or applications.

    There are various applications in which Kafka is used like samza and confluent for Real-time Financial Alerts. Big brand names like The NewYork Times, Pinterest, Zalando, Rabobank, LINE, trivago are few of them who are using Kafka.

  • Creating Open-Source Projects Companies Want to Sponsor
  • IBM reflects on open source some 20 years into it

    Open source might be a relatively new trend in telecom, but it’s been around at least 20 years, and that’s something OSCON 2018 organizers want to make sure attendees here are aware.

    The open source convention known as OSCON hosts developers, IT managers, system administrators and just plain geeks who want to learn the latest in blockchain, Kubernetes or other technical arenas and hear inspiring stories about open source. The convention is back in Portland this week after having been held in Austin, Texas, the past two years.

    In telecom, operators want their vendors to deliver based on open source platforms. Various initiatives are under way, but not every vendor is rushing to the party. Through the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), for example, operators are developing reference designs so that everyone in the supply chain knows what solutions operators plan to procure and deploy.

  • Perspecta Participates in Open Source Summit as Conference Sponsor; Mac Curtis Comments

    Perspecta (NYSE: PRSP) served as a sponsor of the 7th Annual Open Source Summit organized by the Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance to discuss the use of open source software in industry and government, ExecutiveBiz reported July 13.

  • Get rich with Firefox or *(int *)NULL = 0 trying: Automated bug-bounty hunter build touted

    Do you love Firefox, Linux, and the internet? Are you interested in earning money from the comfort of your own home? Are you OK with a special flavor of Firefox quietly gobbling up memory in a hunt for exploitable security bugs?

    If so, Mozilla has a deal for you.

    The open internet organization (and search licensing revenue addict) would like you to go about your usual browsing business with a special Firefox build designed to automatically report potential security flaws in the software back to the mothership.

    If you do so, and the reported error turns out to be a legit exploitable vulnerability that Firefox engineers can fix, you'll be rewarded as if you'd submitted the errant code to Mozilla's bug bounty program.

    That's right, kids. Your aimless online procrastination could be your ticket to riches through the ASan Nightly Project.

  • Why an ops career

    It’s been a great “family reunion” of FOSS colleagues and peers in the OSCON hallway track this week. I had a conversation recently in which I was asked “Why did you choose ops as a career path?”, and this caused me to notice that I’ve never blogged about this rationale before.

    I work in roles revolving around software and engineering because they fall into a cultural sweet spot offering smart and interesting colleagues, opportunities for great work-life balance, and exemplary compensation. I also happen to have taken the opportunity to spend over a decade building my skills and reputation in this industry, which helps me keep the desirable roles and avoid the undesirable ones. Yet, many people in my field prefer software development over operations work.

  • Free and open source software for public health information systems in India
  • David's Progress on The Free Software Directory, internship weeks 2-3

    I'm working on creating a list of free software extensions for Mozilla-based browsers on the Free Software Directory based on data from addons.mozilla.org. This is needed because the official extensions repository includes many proprietary extensions.

    I found out that it's not possible to use the addons.mozilla.org API to list add-on collections, so I submitted a bug report for this. To my surprise they declined my suggestion, so I had to add a function to my program to parse it manually. Then I went on and wrote a detailed README file to describe the philosophy for the project to make it easy for anyone to contribute. I merged my source code to the Savannah GNU package called Free Software Directory, which also has scripts for importing data from Debian.

    I started a collection of IceCat add-ons and recommended IceCat (and Abrowser) to use it in Tools -> Add-ons (about:addons) -> Get Add-ons.

  • PHP version 5.6.37, 7.0.31, 7.1.20 and 7.2.8
  • An Introduction to Using Git

    If you’re a developer, then you know your way around development tools. You’ve spent years studying one or more programming languages and have perfected your skills. You can develop with GUI tools or from the command line. On your own, nothing can stop you. You code as if your mind and your fingers are one to create elegant, perfectly commented, source for an app you know will take the world by storm.

  • Open Source and Standard-Essential Patents: More Alike Than Not

    The unspoken question that this paper raises in my mind is whether it may be incorrect to speak of Open Source and standardization as separate activities at all.  Instead, Open Source might correctly be viewed as a species of standardization activity, with particular license conditions and membership conditions. The success of Open Source activities—and other standards that implement royalty-free commitments, such as Bluetooth—shows that there’s a place in the continuum of standards policy for royalty-free licensing when participants wish that to be the case.

Openwashing of Surveillance Giants

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  • Facebook open-sources its ‘oomd’ tool for data center memory management

    Facebook Inc. is doling out yet another open-source software tool, this time aimed at data center operators that struggle with system outages from applications trying to consume more memory resources than are available to them.

    The software in question is called oomd, which Facebook describes as a “faster and more reliable” solution for the “out-of-memory situations” that sometimes occur after a configuration change or software update relating to its information technology infrastructure.

  • Open sourcing oomd, a new approach to handling OOMs

    As our global community has grown to more than 2.2 billion people, Facebook’s infrastructure has grown to span News Feed, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and a range of other products. These products and the systems powering them run on millions of servers spread across multiple geo-distributed data centers.

    As our infrastructure has scaled, we’ve found that an increasing fraction of our machines and networks span multiple generations. One side effect of this multigenerational production environment is that a new software release or configuration change might result in a system running healthily on one machine but experiencing an out-of-memory (OOM) issue on another. Facebook runs Linux as the host operating system on its machines. The traditional Linux OOM killer works fine in some cases, but in others it kicks in too late, resulting in the system entering a livelock for an indeterminate period.

    We have developed oomd, a faster, more reliable solution to common out-of-memory (OOM) situations, which works in userspace rather than kernelspace. We designed oomd with two key features: pre-OOM hooks and a custom plugin system. Pre-OOM hooks offer visibility into an OOM before the workload is threatened. The plugin system allows us to specify custom policies that can handle each workload running on a host.

  • Open sourcing oomd, a new approach to handling OOMs

    Over on the Facebook code site, Daniel Xu announces the release of oomd under the GPLv2. Oomd is a user-space "out of memory" killer that was mentioned in our recent article on the block I/O latency controller and it uses the pressure stall information covered in an even more recent article.

  • Big News: Big Internet Platforms Making It Easy To Move Your Data Somewhere Else [Ed: Pentagon-connected surveillance giants to let you duplicate your data among themselves ('move')]

    So, just last week we had a post by Kevin Bankston from the Open Technology Institute arguing for some basic steps towards much greater data portability on social media. The idea was that the internet platforms had to make it much easier to not just download your data (which most of them already do), but to make it useful elsewhere. Bankston's specific proposal included setting clear technical standards and solving the graph portability project. In talking about standards, Bankston referenced Google's data transfer project, but that project has taken a big step forward today announcing a plan to let users transfer data automatically between platforms.

    The "headline" that most folks are focusing on is that Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter are all involved in the project (along with a few smaller companies), meaning that it should lead to a situation where you could easily transfer data between them. As it stands right now, the various services let you download your data, but getting it into another platform is still a hassle, making the whole "download your data" thing not all that useful beyond "oh, look at everything this company has about me." Making a system where you can easily transfer all that data to another platform without having to manage the transition yourself or being left with a bunch of useless data is a big step forward -- and a huge step towards giving users much more significant control over their data.

  • Introducing Data Transfer Project: an open source platform promoting universal data portability

    In 2007, a small group of engineers in our Chicago office formed the Data Liberation Front, a team that believed consumers should have better tools to put their data where they want, when they want, and even move it to a different service. This idea, called “data portability,” gives people greater control of their information, and pushes us to develop great products because we know they can pack up and leave at any time.

  • Google/Microsoft/Twitter/Facebook Announce The Open-Source Data Transfer Project

    Google in cooperation with Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook have announced the open-source Data Transfer Project to promote universal data portability.

    The multi-vendor Data Transfer Project initiative is to enable consumers to transfer data directly from one server to another, without the need for downloading/uploading of the content.

  • Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter partner for ambitious new data project [Ed: misusing terms like “open”, “free” and “choice”]
  • Working Together to Give People More Control of Their Data
  • Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter launch open-source initiative to free users’ data
  • Tech Heavyweights Create Open Source Project to Transfer Data
  • Open source project allows data transfer among Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook

A brief history of text-based games and open source

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The Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFTF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of technologies enabling the digital art form we call interactive fiction. When a Community Moderator for Opensource.com suggested an article about IFTF, the technologies and services it supports, and how it all intersects with open source, I found it a novel angle to the decades-long story I’ve so often told. The history of IF is longer than—but quite enmeshed with—the modern FOSS movement. I hope you’ll enjoy my sharing it here.

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Open source code worth $600m contributed to Apache

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Open source code valued at over $600 million was delivered by volunteer project contributors to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) in a single 12-month period.

That's according to the Apache Software Foundation's (ASF) annual report for its 2018 fiscal year, which ended on 30 April. The report was released last week.

ASF was established in 1999 and claims to be the world's largest open source foundation with more than 300 freely available, enterprise-wide projects that serve as the backbone for some of the most visible and widely used applications in computing today.

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RIP, Printrbot

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Hardware
OSS
  • Printrbot has shut down

    Printrbot, a popular Kickstarter-backed 3D printer company, has shut down, leaving only a barebones website and little explanation.

  • Pioneering desktop 3D printer maker Printrbot closes it doors
  • Printrbot Closes Doors, Saddening 3D Printing Fans Everywhere

    In a competitive market, it’s hard for any company to stay ahead of the others, and it’s a sad fact that even some of the most popular and long-lived companies succumb to heavy weather. Printrbot, founded in 2011, had legions of fans who loved its printers’ affordability, ease of assembly and use, and open source freedom. Printrbot 3D printers were 3D printers for the people – only a few hundred dollars, they provided access to 3D printing technology for people who hadn’t been able to afford it before, and although they were simple, they were high quality. Best of all, you could make them your own, tinkering with them and creating new and unique machines, as so many users did. The company was ethical, direct and honest. Some open source 3D printer companies just download files and don’t share. Printrbot dutifully shared its source files and was a rare true open source company.

  • 3D Printing Community saddened by closure of Printrbot 3D printers

    Open source 3D printer manufacturer Printrbot has announced the close of its business, citing poor sales as the reason for the decision. A simple statement on the Printrbot website from founder Brook Drumm reads:

    “Printrbot is closed. Low sales led to hard decisions. We will be forever grateful to all the people we met and served over the years. Thank you all.”

    For the time being, Drumm will reportedly be “unreachable” for comments, and plans to share his views and plans for this “final chapter” in due course.

    The 3D Printing Community however has take to social media in mourning of the company, with figures including Joel Telling (YouTube’s 3D Printing Nerd), Thomas Sanladerer, and Dr. Adrian Bowyer himself weighing in on the close.

  • Printrbot Shuts Down After Seven Years of Creating Open Source 3D Printers

    Printrbot, the 3D printing manufacturer which was founded in 2011 with the launch of its original Printrbot printer on Kickstarter, has announced that it's now sadly closing its doors.

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